Coinbase Pro VS Gemini: Crypto Exchange Comparison

James HeadshotAuthor: James Page
Last Updated: October 2020

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Coinbase Pro vs Gemini exchange comparison

The whole concept of cryptocurrency trading can seem threatening to someone who’s new and lacks the experience with this type of coins, platforms, and trading options. That’s why you need to inform yourself about the challenges, risks, and possible outcomes. You should find out how the market operates and what the current trends are before you start trading.

Once you’ve done your more general research, it’s time to choose the right crypto exchange that caters to your needs as both trader and investor. To help you in this process, we’ve prepared a lit of the best crypto exchanges outlining and analyzing their best features, and openly discuss the areas that need improvement too.

Today, the focus is on Coinbase Pro and Gemini, two outstanding platforms from the United States that enjoy the trust of the crypto community and are especially praised by senior traders. Our in-depth analysis will give you more details on how these trading platforms work and what they have to offer.

About the Bitcoin Exchanges

Coinbase Pro

The story of Coinbase Pro begins way before the year 2016 when the exchange was first launched as a separate platform. Prior to that, it used to be part of another highly famous exchange called Coinbase, founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam in San Francisco, California.

Coinbase rose to success very quickly and skillfully. Thanks to its simple user-friendly design, it became the top choice for newbies and retail traders. However, the experienced traders weren’t as satisfied because the platform didn’t offer advanced trading options for the more adventurous. That’s what prompted Coinbase founders to create another separate platform that would cater to the needs of seasoned and institutional traders.

Coinbase Pro logo

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Coinbase Pro (initially called GDAX) was expected to offer more cryptocurrencies, worldwide access, and more protection, in line with the financial regulations of the California state. For a comparison on Coinbase vs Gemini, check out our separate review.

Gemini

Gemini is one of the most famous crypto exchanges. The name is a reference to the founders – the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler – who launched the platform in 2015 with headquarters in New York City. In only two years, Gemini has made its way among the top 20 exchanges in relation to trading volume.

But let’s take a step back and talk about the background of Gemini founders. The name Winklevoss twins might ring a bell since these were the guys who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg back in 2008. The Harvard alumni claimed that they were the ones who came up with the idea for Facebook – the initial name for the networking site was ConnectU – only to have Zuckerberg steal the idea under their noses.

Gemini logo

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The lawsuit against Zuckerberg resulted in a $65 million legal settlement comprised of $20 million in cash and $45 million worth of Facebook shares. This allowed the brothers, who have always been interested in the crypto market, to invest a lot of money in Bitcoin. One thing led to another and Gemini was born.

Having chosen NY as its location, the company had to comply with the regulations set by the NYSDFS. This means paying extra attention to consumer protection, anti-money laundering, and investing in high-tech cybersecurity. All this has made Gemini one of the most trusted crypto exchanges.

Gemini vs Coinbase Pro: The Comparison

Bitcoin and Other Supported Cryptocurrencies

The first thing you should check when looking for a trading platform is the variety of supported cryptocurrencies it offers and the option for fiat-to-crypto exchanges. Coinbase Pro and Gemini have both their advantages and disadvantages in this category.

None of them supports a large number of digital assets but the reason for this is that they have high criteria and accept only the most popular and secure coins to protect the platforms from any fraudulent activities. Coinbase Pro currently supports BitcoinBitcoin CashEthereumRipple, and Litecoin, while Gemini supports only Bitcoin and Ethereum. This, of course, dramatically limits the investors’ chances of profiting from altcoins but it still allows them to invest in the top cryptocurrencies on the market.

Coinbase Pro GDAX markets

The good news is that both platforms have additional crypto to crypto trading pairs and offer support for fiat payments. To fund your account, you can link your bank account and make a bank transfer (ACH) or use your debit card. Credit cards aren’t supported.

Security

Coinbase Pro and Gemini are both very serious when it comes to the safety of their platforms. Having the privilege to be the sister-exchange of Coinbase, Coinbase Pro was designed using the same high-level security measures. The platform stores the majority of your funds offline in cold storage. This makes it unlikely for them to fall into the wrong hands. The cold wallet also hides private customer data such as account logins and card numbers.

The rest of your funds remain online, protected with the two-factor authentication that doesn’t authorize a transaction without an email and mobile phone verification. Moreover, user funds are separated from operational funds in order to avoid any violations by company stuff. For US residents, their funds up to $250,000 are additionally protected by FDIC. On top of that, your wallet and private key are safeguarded with AES-256 encryption, established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Gemini uses more or less the same security measures. It has cold and hot wallets for separate cumulation of funds and ensures the safety of personal accounts with the 2FA method. US residents have their accounts insured by the FDIC as was the case with Coinbase Pro. The remaining online assets are hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for more impenetrable protection.

Fees and Payment Methods

Both Coinbase Pro and Gemini use the volume-based maker and taker fee schedule to determine your trading fees. However, the amount differs on each platform.

Let’s start with Coinbase Pro! The platform evaluates your trading volume in the last 30 days and checks whether you’re a maker or a taker. Coinbase Pro likes to reward traders who bring liquidity to the exchange, thinking that this would prove an incentive for users to trade even more. As a result, it charges no maker fee at all. Takers, on the other hand, are charged 0.30% per trade which is still inexpensive.

Bank account deposits made in Europe through a SEPA transfer are free of charge, while US customers have to pay 1.49% when depositing via bank accounts. If you deposit using cryptocurrencies as a payment method, you only pay the blockchain transaction fee. As far as withdrawals are concerned, those made through SEPA cost $0.15, whereas a standard wire transfer in the US costs $25.

Moving on to Gemini! This Bitcoin exchange doesn’t charge any fees for deposits or the first 30 withdrawals in the month! However, trading with cryptocurrencies is definitely pricier than it was over at Coinbase Pro. On the volume-based fee schedule, the trader’s amount of Bitcoin or Ether bought and sold is ranked from a light to a massive volume. Regardless of whether you’re a maker or a taker, the fees start at 1.00% for light traders, decreasing all the way down to 0.10% or 0.00% for massive-volume traders.

Ease-of-Use

The only place where these platforms need to invest in more if they want to attract more beginners and regular retail traders is their interface. At first glance, they don’t come out as user-friendly.

On the other hand, this is what the Coinbase Pro team had in store for the platform from the start – to satisfy the crypto ventures of professional traders. The newbies are directed to their other exchange, Coinbase, while the experienced crypto enthusiasts engage in more advanced stuff like margin trading, making limit or stop orders, and using a real-live order book.

Those who have some basic knowledge of how the crypto market functions, won’t have a problem with Gemini either. For the rest, the platform will require a little getting used to. It features lots of technical charts for an in-depth analysis, finance jargon, and a list of fancy tools.

While we don’t want to discourage you from trying out the platforms and determining for yourself whether they’re hard to master or not, we want you to have in mind that not being able to understand how trading works can eventually lead to more coin losses than gains.

Customer Support

We can see that the crypto industry is currently in full bloom, and customers are pouring in by the hundreds. This is beneficial for the platforms but at the same time, they’re struggling to attend to the needs of all those users. Coinbase Pro and Gemini hold their reputations mainly because they excel in this area as well.

On their websites, they have separate “Support” pages which lead to a dashboard with a request box for submitting support tickets, and an FAQ section at the bottom of the page. This section is the perfect resource for beginners as it doesn’t only cover common support issues but explains investment terms and basic processes too. It also offers a great selection of questions on account management, supported cryptocurrencies, trading options, payment methods, etc.

The support tickets are answered through email correspondence. The platforms are regarded as highly responsive, and the reviews are saying that they usually get back to their customers within a reasonable 24-72 hour frame.

Coinbase Pro goes the extra mile by adding a 24/7 live chat and support lines for urgent queries. Now you’ll have your problem solved instantaneously, wherever you are in the world, whenever you need it.

Mobile Trading

These two platforms have recognized the importance of mobile trading and made it possible for their users to enjoy trading on the go!

gemini exchange

Coinbase Pro launched its mobile app but for now it’s only available for download on the Apple Store, while the Android app will be released in the near future. Gemini, on the other hand, is ready for use on all smartphones.

Pros and Cons

Coinbase Pro pros:

  • 2FA, cold storage, encryption
  • FDIC Insurance for US customers’ funds
  • Perfect for experienced and institutional traders
  • Supports more cryptocurrencies and has more trading pairs
  • Supports more fiat currencies

Coinbase Pro cons:

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Doesn’t support credit cards
  • The mobile app is not available for Android users

Gemini pros:

  • Regulated by the NYSDFS
  • Free deposits, and no charge for the first 30 monthly withdrawals
  • 2FA, “air-gapped” cold wallet
  • Amazon Web Services clouding of data
  • High responsiveness (24-72 hours for a support ticket)
  • Mobile app for both Android and iOS users

Gemini cons:

  • Supports trading for Bitcoin and Ethereum only
  • Supports only one fiat currency (USD)
  • Higher trading fees
  • The interface is not suitable for beginners

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read our guide and familiarized yourself with Coinbase Pro and Gemini, we think you’re well-informed to decide between the two. Chew on all the information we’ve covered in terms of supported currencies, trading, and payment options available, responsiveness, protection, and costs. Weigh out the advantages and disadvantages relevant to your investment strategy. Don’t hesitate to look at other platforms too, or different guides that compare these two platforms to others. You might be better off using the process in our how to buy Bitcoin page as it’s easy for beginners.

To sum up, the advantage of using either Coinbase Pro or Gemini lies in the high-level security methods, their responsiveness to customer queries, and the availability of primary cryptocurrencies and fiat-to-crypto exchanges. Coinbase Pro is the winner with three additional coins, plus two fiat currencies, and slightly lower fees.

The disadvantage (for some) will be the interface of the websites, which has a more serious feel to it. Both exchanges tend to focus on experienced traders, especially Coinbase Pro. If we have to choose one, Gemini is definitely the user-friendly one.

Bittrex, Bitstamp, Binance, Kraken, and Other Exchanges

For more information, you can check out our thorough crypto exchange reviews and see Coinbase Pro compared to BittrexBitstampBinanceKraken, etc.

Coinbase Pro logo

Visit Coinbase Pro

Gemini logo

Visit Gemini

About The Author

James Page

James Headshot

James is the main editor. With a passion for finance and anything blockchain, cryptocurrency is right up his alley. He's responsible for most of the content on the site, trying his best to keep everything up to date and as informative as possible.

Disclaimer: Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are volatile and can involve a lot of risk. Their prices and performance is very unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consult a financial advisor or obtain your own advice independent of this site before relying and acting on the information provided.